Will there be a shortage of child care in San Francisco as businesses reopen?

More sectors of San Francisco's economy are preparing to open Monday.

Now, preparations already underway and the important child care industry is gearing up for the return to work. At this point, there's some question if there will be enough spots to meet demand.

San Francisco is inching toward normalcy, slowly allowing businesses to reopen. Monday, personal services like hair stylists and barbers can return indoors for limited service. "[We've been] waiting a long time. I think over six months, right? we really need to open because we have to pay the rent," said Kelly Lu from Precision Hair Design. "We need to survive, right?"

With more people returning to work, the need will grow for child care in the city. Amie Latterman, Chief Advancement Officer for Children's Council San Francisco says it's hard to overstate the importance of child care in terms of allowing the economy to reopen.

"Economic recovery really depends on childcare," said Latterman. "So much of our workforce relies on childcare to get to work every day. A good 30% of every employers set of employees need that."

The shelter in place orders in the city forced many child care centers to close their doors at least temporarily. Children's Council estimates that about 60% have reopened, many others have expressed concerns about reopening and how to do it safely for the families and the workers.

"And then there are some that we just haven't heard from, those are the ones we're worried about the most," said Latterman. "So, will there be a shortage? At this point it's really not clear."

Latterman says San Francisco didn't have enough childcare to meet the city's need before COVID-19. They've worked with the city, developing cleaning plans for child care providers in the coronavirus pandemic, allowing many to reopen. Children's Council also worked to connect families with child care pre-COVID, and are now carrying on with that same mission.

"There are a lot of places that are open, and we have an online search engine on our website that can help families locate what are their options right now," said Latterman.

Link to Children's Council San Francisco for families still looking for childcare.